Monday, February 06, 2012

Classics for Kolkata

It all started with Ruth. She's a first cousin twice removed. And she plays the viola.

Her Mammy, who's only once removed, told me Ruth and a friend would be giving a concert at the Froebel College in Blackrock in aid of the Hope/Froebel Kolkata project.

The Hope Foundation works at education and community development in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) India, and newly qualified teachers from the College go out during the summer to teach and to learn. The concert was to raise funds for the project. Ruth and her friend and colleague, Natalie, were taking time out from a very busy professional schedule across the water to perform both as soloists and as a duet for this good cause.

The performances were virtuoso. And I was stunned to hear just two, so similar, instruments sounding like a full quartet.

A small part of the answer to this aural illusion may lie in the instruments. The girls are part of the Finzi Quartet, who have been taking the music world by storm, and who have been given a loan of a precious set of four matched instruments known as the Evangelists. They were built by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1863 and have recently been acquired by the Swiss Global Artistic Foundation. They are loaned out to further "the Foundation's ongoing commitment to help young artists attain the highest levels of musical performance and professional advancement". But that was clearly only a small part of the story, the gilding on the lily.

[Update: September 2012 - the quartet has been reformed. Three of the girls have left with only Lydia Shelley continuing. The link above will bring you to the new quartet's site which is under construction.]

These two talented musicians gave us a night to remember.

Natalie played one of her own compositions which I thought outshone that of the established composer that she played before it.

Ruth showed what a beautiful instrument the much neglected viola can be as she became a violin one minute, a cello the next, and something quite unique in between.

There will be another concert next January when Ruth will cajole another friend or friends to join her. Don't miss it.


blackwatertown said...

Sounds great.
Certainly looks great.

Póló said...

Ain't they just.